Course: LIN386M  Introduction to Computational Linguistics
Semester: Fall 2011

Instructor Contact Information

Katrin Erk
office hours:  Mon 10-12, Tues 10-11
office: Calhoun 512

Jason Baldridge
office hours:  Mon 10-12, Fri 9:30-10:30
office: Calhoun 510


Graduate standing.

Syllabus and Text

This page serves as the syllabus for this course.

Required readings will be made available for download from the schedule page of the course website.

Exams and Assignments

There will be no midterm or final exam. Instead, this course has a course project.

Philosophy, Goal and Content

This is a discussion oriented seminar that will focus on reading and discussing current research on connecting language to the real world, in various ways. As such, the course will cast a wider net than most seminars. Specifically, we will discuss topics such as:

  • the core theory and concepts behind vector-space models of word meaning, and new directions for vector-space models for sentence meaning
  • representing meaning with visual information, or mixed textual and visual information
  • more generally, the combination of computer vision and computational linguistics to improve tasks in either of the two fields
  • geographic and temporal location of documents
  • "grounding" documents and words by associating them with real world values, such as movie revenues and stock price fluctuations
  • strategies for the fusion of different sources of information in multimedia research
  • learning to perform tasks such as playing games in virtual world or producing automated commentary for games such as Robocup, and in particular, learning from the connection of linguistic and extra linguistic information

See the course schedule for details.

Course Requirements

Course Project (80%)
  • Project Ideas (1%, 1 page).
  • Proposal (9%, 3 pages).
  • Progress Report (15%, 6 pages).
  • Final Report (35%, 8 pages).
  • Final Presentation (20%).

Participation (20%): The course will be discussion-oriented. Each student will be responsible for leading the discussion about at least one paper, and students are expected to contribute to discussions. Poor attendance will lead to a reduced participation grade.

Extension Policy

Homework must be turned in on the due date in order to receive credit. Extensions will be considered on a case-by-case basis and only if the student asks for the extension before the deadline.

Points will be deducted for lateness. By default, 10 points (out of 100) will be deducted for lateness, plus an additional 5 points for every 24-hour period beyond 2 that the assignment is late. For example, an assignment due at 11am on Tuesday will have 10 points deducted if it is turned in late but before 11am on Thursday. It will have 15 points deducted if it is turned in by 11am Friday, etc.

Late submissions will not be accepted if they are more than one week past the deadline. No points will be received in this case.

The greater the advance notice of a need for an extension, the greater the likelihood of leniency.

Academic Honor Code

You are encouraged to discuss assignments with classmates, but all written submission must reflect your own, original work. If in doubt, ask the instructor. Acts like plagiarism represent a serious violation of UT's Honor Code and standards of conduct:

Students who violate University rules on academic dishonesty are subject to severe disciplinary penalties, such as automatically failing the course and potentially being dismissed from the University. Don't risk it. Honor code violations ultimately harm yourself as well as other students, and the integrity of the University, policies on academic honesty will be strictly enforced.

For further information please visit the Student Judicial Services Web site:

Notice about students with disabilities

The University of Texas at Austin provides appropriate accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. To determine if you qualify, please contact the Dean of Students at 512-471-6529 or UT Services for Students with Disabilities. If they certify your needs, we will work with you to make appropriate arrangements.

UT SSD Website:

Notice about missed work due to religious holy days

A student who misses an examination, work assignment, or other project due to the observance of a religious holy day will be given an opportunity to complete the work missed within a reasonable time after the absence, provided that he or she has properly notified the instructor. It is the policy of the University of Texas at Austin that the student must notify the instructor at least fourteen days prior to the classes scheduled on dates he or she will be absent to observe a religious holy day. For religious holy days that fall within the first two weeks of the semester, the notice should be given on the first day of the semester. The student will not be penalized for these excused absences, but the instructor may appropriately respond if the student fails to complete satisfactorily the missed assignment or examination within a reasonable time after the excused absence.